Cover My Care’s Toolkit

Cover My Care – the new outreach program for IHPC – has recently released their 2706 Toolkit.

From the CMC Toolkit page:

Our 2706 Toolkit provides information and tools for anyone interested in advancing the purpose of Section 2706: educating officials in your states, insurance company management, the local media, and joining or forming groups of consumers, patients and providers who insist that full access to affordable licensed providers is important to health care choices now and for the future.

Whether you’re a CAM practitioner or a patient who utilizes integrative medicine, the Toolkit has plenty of material for you to share with friends and clients.

Stay tuned! Coming soon to CMC: A page where you can share your stories of insurance denial and read what other patients have been going through.

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IHPC Updates

What has IHPC been up to?

Perhaps most importantly, IHPC has been involved with (and sometimes hosting) regional meetings with the Department of Health and Human Services. Although so far these meetings have only been in Region 9 (meeting in San Diego) & Region 10 (meeting in Seattle), IHPC is looking to create “regional nodes” made up representatives of integrative healthcare disciplines to further discussions about Section 2706 with the HHS Regional Directors [see region map here].

Deborah Senn presented on Section 2706 at the Washington meeting, which is where her video was created.

Furthermore, IHPC is striving to correct misinformation about Section 2706. The CCIIO (Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, one of the government arms helping to implement provisions of the ACA) recently wrote about Section 2706 on their website, but the language is both confusing and contradictory. Deborah Senn wrote them a letter in response, explaining the original intent of Section 2706 and pointing out the website’s inaccuracies.

There is already a movement to repeal Section 2706 with HR 2817. Not surprisingly, this legislation was written by a representative who is also an anesthesiologist, and it is supported by several medical associations, including the AMA.

On a state level, there is a lot of confusion as to what Section 2706 means. What does it allow? What does it not allow? Because this will be implemented on a state-by-state basis, education needs to start locally. IHPC is currently creating a list of talking points about Section 2706 to share with AMTA, one of their Partners for Health. From there, AMTA will share it with their state chapters in order for it to be used in future meetings with state officials and insurance commissioners.

The Affordable Care Act is a huge document, and even those working in the field aren’t familiar with all of the details. Case in point: I had a conversation with a local insurance director last week who had absolutely no idea that the plans they were offering on the exchange would be in violation of federal law if they excluded CAM services.

What can you, as an individual provider, do for health care reform? Talk it up. Let people know what’s going on. Tell your colleagues, of course – make sure everyone at your clinic or spa knows about Section 2706 and the upcoming changes. Tell your clients – let them know that having insurance coverage for their massages is just around the corner. Tell friends, family, any one you meet! It’s a good conversation starter.

The more excited people are for these changes, the more power we’ll have to implement them. A lot of this comes down to just getting the word out.

If you can, write. In just the past few weeks, I’ve read two articles from colleagues about massage and the Affordable Care Act. Even if you don’t have a large blog, even if you just want to link to or share what other people have written. Every effort, no matter how small, can help.

FAQs

IHPC put together a list of FAQs regarding Section 2706, the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, and they are now online! The link is in the menu above; or you can just click here!

What is IHPC?

IHPC is the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium. This nonprofit organization was created in 2001 after a public dialogue on integrative healthcare. Through petitioning congress and state officials, as well as educating the public, IHPC continually addresses the need for integrative healthcare and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to be acknowledged and included in the discussion of healthcare policy, especially in light of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Mission: [source]

The mission of the IHPC is to direct the national healthcare agenda toward a health-oriented, integrated system, ensuring all people access to the full range of safe and regulated conventional, complementary, and alternative healthcare professionals, therapies and products, and to the building blocks of health, including clean air and water as well as a healthy food supply. [emphasis in original]

Goals: [source]

  1. Enact legislation prohibiting discrimination against CAM providers, schools, and educational programs in all federal programs and initiatives, especially in the removal of barriers to integrated health care in rural and underserved communities.
  2. Create a federal office on integrated healthcare.
  3. Increase appropriations for health services research to foster health promotion and disease prevention.
  4. Secure federal support for education and training programs, for both conventional and CAM schools, to produce a core, integrated curriculum.

Accomplishments: [source]

  • Has communicated directly with congress, as both an educator of integrative healthcare needs and as a watchdog of health related federal agencies.
  • Maintains a relationship with Nation Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the NIH.
  • Met and discussed insurance billing with the American Medical Association (AMA), which resulted in the appointment of two new CAM seats in an AMA advisory board.
  • Has created a venue for dialogue and planning among CAM and conventional healthcare professionals in order to make the necessary changes in education and policy to advance the goal of integrative care.

Purpose of this blog:

When I was asked to head a task force for promoting the goals of IHPC in the massage community, I immediately accepted. I had only known about IHPC for a few days, but I quickly realized that our goals are very much aligned. As a massage therapist in Portland, Ore., I’m credentialed with many insurance companies. Because many health plans in my state offer massage coverage, I’ve found it necessary to take insurance in order to grow my business. However, I’m also aware of the discrepancies between CAM providers and Western medicine providers for both insurance coverage and reimbursement. I support the goals of IHPC and I hope that they can succeed in changing the face of American medicine.

But policies can’t be implemented in a vacuum. The goals of IHPC will only be realized if people are aware of them. Many massage therapists don’t take insurance; many clients don’t know if their insurance benefits cover massage. Unless we inform the patients and providers about what changes are coming and how the new policies will affect them, we won’t get anywhere.

That’s what this blog is for. First of all, I want to tell everyone about IHPC. This organization has done many exciting things already, and it’s poised to do a great deal more. Second, I want to inform the public about the changes that are taking place in healthcare this year and beyond. And finally, I want to reach out to my fellow massage therapists. As healthcare providers, we should all be interested in how the healthcare reforms will impact us. I’ll be here to give you the details you need.